By Air, Boat, Or Plane, Paypal Sucks For Transaction Disputes

How is that Paypal gets away with having a customer service system completely unreachable by humans?

    “Hey, nice website…consumers need as many of these sites as possible so that peoples’ horror stories are heard. I myself have a little rant about Paypal and USPS. Turns out USPS makes a mistake and ships one of my ebay packages via boat rather than airmail (how in the digital age???). I have the receipt proving that I paid for airmail shipping. My local USPS claims agent confirmed that they did indeed ship it by boat. So of course the customer complains after about a month that they didn’t get the package, and Paypal immediately refunds their money, despite my badgering them by phone, trying to explain what USPS did….”

…Paypal just doesn’t listen. Well, the package was shipped in Sept.2006, and according to USPS it arrived in Turkey “on or around” Jan. 10, 2007 (“on or around?” again, how in the digital age???). USPS sent me a letter indicating this, but no proof. Also, they are denying all liability and won’t even give a refund of the postage even though they sent it by boat rather than air. Of course, getting the insurance claim is out of the question, too. AND, Paypal is now hiding behind their seller protection policy, refusing to reverse the refund even though USPS is indicating that it was delivered. So I have no recourse whatsoever. But I’m guessing that my customer in Turkey ended up with a free mp3 player. I’m beginning to feel like these offerings of “insurance” and “seller protection” made by USPS and Paypal are just a scam. I paid USPS extra money in order to get insurance. I felt like that might encourage them to take good care of it. What happens? It takes 3 months to deliver a package (and I’m still not sure whether it really was delivered) that should have taken 2 weeks. And now they refuse to compensate me. And as for Paypal, they made a refund to MY customer prematurely even though I was communicating with them and letting them know the situation. The whole time, USPS online tracking said “in transit”. Paypal’s official reason for granting a refund to MY customer: “invalid tracking info”.



Edit Your Comment

  1. Helvetian says:

    PayPal’s Seller protection does not protect against transactions outside the United States. And even if they did, unless you can prove delivery online, PayPal will conclude the dispute or claim in favor of the buyer. In transit, or even delivery attempt is not the same as “delivered.” If the value of the MP3 exceeded $250, you must get a signature tracking method. Turkey among others are known countries with high rates of mail fraud. Best advice is to protect yourself by dealing only with countries under PayPal such as Canada and UK.

    PayPal must protect themselves, because if not, the buyer could hit them with a chargeback which is costly and time consuming for them and you the seller. Whenever I ship abroad, cut n’ dry it’s USPS Express Mail Service with Insurance and Tracking w/Signature required. You must protect yourself as the seller.

  2. bloodr says:

    So far by reading this website I’ve learned 1) In store extended warranties are a rip off 2) Pay Pal is a rip off 3) Cell phone companies are evil 4) Credit Cards are legalized extortion

    Hopefully this guy won’t use Pay Pal in the future.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Jereme writes:

    “I myself went through hassels with PayPal, and still my eBay account is closed because of PayPal issues. I love that there is no phone number for eBay and they only send an automatic form letter for anything. My problem was that I shipped an item three days after payment. Meaning after a weekend, this appeared to be the reason for suspension. The item was going to a military address. I purchased delivery confirmation from USPS, because I figured that would be sufficient. The post office failed to mention that delivery confirmation was absolutely useless for military addresses. It appears once the package is in the military’s hands they don’t care and the military doesn’t reply back to the post office that an item was delivered, when confirmation is purchased. The package had taken a week to deliver, by the next Sunday the buyer issued a complaint regarding shipping. Because delivery confirmation does not provide any in-transit information whatsoever, what a waste of an additional 50 cents. The next Monday the guy had the item, and contacted PayPal. However PayPal refused to unlock my account. It took a third call to them, and finally a transfer to the right department to get that cleared up. However I am still dealing with eBay not releasing an account that has had no issues for 10 years. If anyone can find a phone number for eBay please help me. Their chat service doesn’t care about suspended accounts. In the end any future transactions I ever make will refuse shipment to military or PO Boxes because I refuse to use the post office for packages. “

  4. zl9600 says:

    Paypal is only outdone in suckiness by the USPS. Their tracking information is worthless, their liability non-existent, their customer service deplorable.

    Sadly people still use them. DHL would have been the way to go. As a buyer, I won’t even touch an ebay/ Paypal transaction anymore for anything I cannot stomach losing entirely. As a seller, I will never ever ship outside the US NOR will I ship anything via the Post office.

    Try this trick; it really works.

  5. mom22bless says:

    I learned my lesson….NEVER EVER do business with ebay/paypal outside of the US. paypal can’t and won’t protect you. I (stupidly) bought a GBA game and it came from Singapore. It was fake and paypal told me to send it back……then they couldn’t track it. Claim was dropped.

    I bitched paypal out and they gave me a courtesy refund.


  6. LAGirl says:

    i once had problems with eBay that couldn’t be resolved by email. i decided to do a search on Yahoo Yellow Pages and sure enough, found their info:

    2145 Hamilton Ave, San Jose, CA 95125
    Phone: (408) 376-7400

    and here are PAYPAL phone #s:


  7. structurepolo says:

    I tried to tell ya….

  8. Stepehn Colbert says:

    they are the most terrible transaction service…use a REAL credit card service for online transactions. Its more professional. i’ve even known Paypal people to impersonate FBI when dealing with a seller, trying to get him to send an ignorant buyer the merchandise they paid paypal for, when he didnt accept paypal. How were they able to pay paypal when he didnt accept it? – he had a previous crooked buyer have paypal refund their transaction, after he’d withdrawn it, leaving his account with a negative balance; Ebay then leaves the paypal button on your page, regardless of whether you accept it or not. Not too sure, but they may always leave it on your seller page, no matter what. he called the FBI and said he’d spoken with agent whoever, and wanted to know what this was all about. The desk said noone by that name worked there, and said it was paypal, impersonating FBI. They also said that anytime FBI contact you, your caller ID reads FBI, when, at the time, his read anonymous.

  9. ExVee says:

    And that’s really the moral of this story: Don’t leave a balance in your Paypal account. Even if Paypal does refund your buyer, if you don’t have a balance, they can’t really take the money from you. It might end up in getting your account screwed, but you’re not out cash for your sold item. And unless the TOS has changed or I’ve grossly misunderstood them, your account does not give Paypal leave to directly withdraw funds from your bank account, and I’d love it if they tried that on me – my bank is awesome about fraud, and I’d totally dispute the withdrawal on that basis. Oh, and the other moral is for international shipping, I don’t care where, use a courier with real tracking info. If you must ship overseas at all. I personally don’t, and except in special circumstances won’t even sell to Canada.

    The only way to deal with Paypal’s operation is healthy applications of prevention. There’s probably little hope now.

  10. souhaite says:

    And if PayPal hadn’t refunded the money, we’d be hearing from the buyer – it’s been three months and still no shipment, and PayPal won’t refund my money. How, exactly, can PayPal make everyone happy?

  11. drkkgt says:

    @zl9600: DHL? I always have problems if DHL is the delivery unit. late deliveries, faulty/incorrect/delayed reporting on status for their site, completely unhelpful support (Them, “I’m sorry sir, I show your package has been sitting a week in Fresno but the system doesn’t show it as lost.” Me, “but I live in LA!!”) I will usually request for any other delivery than DHL, with the exception of USPS. I totally agree that they are worse.

  12. r81984 says:

    That buyer is stupid for making a claim. The seller had proof USPS sent it wrong and had a valid tracking number that said the item was in transit. The buyer could have called USPS himself with the tracking # to verify that it was mailed wrong.

    Paypal should have waited until that tracking # said delivered before allowing a claim to be made.

    If the buyer does do a chargeback because he does not want to wait for the item to be delivered then its Paypal’s responsibility to retrieve the money back from the buyer not the seller by billing them, litigation, or debt collection.

  13. Jason-Ryan-Isaksen says:

    I have to disagree, Paypal was right in this case. Their seller protection policy only covers to a limit and only if you send to a verified address. Sure UPS screwed up, but you could have recalled the package when it didn’t arrive on time and ship them a new one, so at least you’d know the original was on it’s way back.
    Paypal or not, you take a huge risk when shipping overseas. The AVS (address verification system) only for US and some Canadian cards/addresses. US mail is not an option since they only track to the border, when it leaves the country they cannot track or confirm it got there.

    If you’re shipping a tangible good item outside the country it had better be paid for with Western Union or Moneygram (moneygram fees at 7 percent vs. WU 15 percent).

    Also if you ship Fedex you better collect the customs fees for that country, because Fedex sends a bill to the customer for the amount, and if they don’t pay it comes out of your account automatically, you’re fully liable for it. Even for Canada there can be as high as 30 percent customs fees on the claimed value. I don’t know the policy of other places but it’s likely the same.

    Also if you ship Fedex to a verified address, you better send it signature required even though Paypal will see it arrived and not cause a problem, if they chargeback with their credit card company claiming they simply didn’t get it, to win that chargeback you’ll have to show the signature of the cardholder or you’ll lose it. You see credit card companies take the side of their customers in 99 percent of claims, even if they are “cybershoplifting” and claiming they didn’t get something since it was left at the door and they never signed it. A lot of scammers know how to game the system.

    Paypal is a good system for most online business, but you have to ship to a Paypal verified address to be covered (up to their limit on the seller protection policy). You can even set your account preferences to only accept orders from inside the US and verified accounts. the 3 percent fee is even refunded to you for refunds, where most merchant accounts charge you both times your non swipe rate, whenever money is changed hands.

    I would go with Fedex ground over UPS any day, Fedex ground is a different company than the Express one, but they are still more reliable and packages arrive in better shape, we’ve tried both.

    In a nutshell, if shipping overseas get it prepaid, get the customs fees on what you’re declaring, and don’t use the post office.

  14. Jesse in Japan says:

    When you use eBay, you have to expect that in a certain percentage of cases, whether you’re the buyer or the seller, you will get completely screwed out of your money.

    I find it incredibly hypocritical of Paypal to show a willingness to protect foreign BUYERS while at the same time, refusing to protect sellers who ship to those foreign buyers. It practically invites buyers outside of the United States to claim free items. Paypal is essentially telling US-based sellers to sell to foreign buyers at their own peril.

    I would take this matter to small claims court.

  15. ras says:

    I have issues with them too. I once was sold a memory stick for around $65 (can’t remember the exact amount right now). The memory was a fake.

    I was told to send the memory back to the seller, but I explained that the memory stick was a fake and sending it back to someone who steals is a bad idea. After tons of emails, they said, and I quote:

    “We encourage you to work directly with the seller for further resolution.

    Please note that we are no longer going to be responding to emails with
    regards to this case. The case has been closed as you failed to provide
    PayPal with an online tracking number to show that the defective item has
    been returned to the seller. If you contact us again with regards to this
    case, the emails will not be responded to.

    Thank you for your time.

    Protection Services Department
    PayPal, an eBay Company”

    This is after they contacted my to tell me that they suspended the sellers account due to issues. Paypal is terrible.

  16. Helvetian says:

    A small 1lb box to Singapore is $55 via UPS or $24 via USPS. The key here is to use a trackable, insured, secured shipping method. My advice is simple, only deal with US Buyers that are Verified with a Confirmed Shipping Address. Always ship via Signature Confirmation, even though for under $250 you don’t need it. It’s only $1.35 and offers peace of mind.

  17. mad_oak says:
  18. mad_oak says:

    @mad_oak: The forum section is for sh!t, but just read the two pages about Paypal’s SPP and its Chargeback policy.

  19. ord2fra says:

    Wow I must be extremely lucky… i have a feedback rating of 100+ and I have never been scammed (or scammed anyone else). Most recently I sent a piece of camera equipment and it arrived, but did not work. I told the guy to keep it and I refunded his money 100%. I didn’t want him to return it to me since I would just junk it.

    I rarely ship outside the US, although I did a few years ago with no problems… UK, DE, and IT. Depends on the buyer and the item. Electronics? Forget it.

    For those that got scammed, what was the feedback of the other party? If you are less than 5 I will require a postal money order. No exceptions. I am wondering if the feedback rating in ebay is broken if fraud is so widespread. I wish there was a way to block my items from even displaying to people with less than XX feedback.

  20. emax4 says:

    ord2fra, simply state in your auctions that any bidders must have at least 5 positive feedbacks in a row from the last transactions, and that if they don’t their bid will be removed leaving the previous bidder currently winning the auction. You’re playing by ebay’s rules but setting your own as well.

    Ben, have you tried getting a hold of the guy you sent the package to who was at the military address? I posted a strike (not negative feedback) for a guy a while back ago. The same guy wrote back months later and wanted to do an auction but couldn’t due to the strike I left, and I couldn’t remove the strike anymore myself. It was so long ago that the reason I left the strike didn’t bug me, so I talked to someone on ebay’s live chat instead. I explained the situation and such and the ebay rep was happy that I wanted to remove the strike for the other customer. I think maybe if they have more paying bidders doing business getting on ebay’s case about that transaction, they either won’t want to lose business or won’t want to deal with the hassle and just get it solved.

    I think USPS would have the recorded transaction in their records still. How many packages go to Turkey coming from that particular post office? Probably very little if any. I still think that they can go back and see everything that happened to the package. Don’t forget that ebay is promoted inside the USPS offices with posters and billboards.

  21. Ben Popken says:

    Raymond writes:

    “I recently sold a computer to a man in Russia, and used PayPal to collect from him. Immediately after I ship the item, I get a customer complaint saying the funds transfer was unauthorized, and that I would have to refund the man in full soon. I, of course, quickly worked through the resolution center, and provided the tracking number given to me by USPS. I thought I was okay. The more and more I research the problem, the more scared I get I am going to have all this money ripped from me when I already used it to pay rent, etc.

    First of all, I sent the package to an address that was not his confirmed PayPal address. The idea of this didn’t bother me, because I’m a college student and my confirmed PayPal address does not match my shipping address because all my credit cards and etc. are registered for my parent’s house, and not my dorm. This Russian man said he was an American who had recently moved to Russia, he kept great communication with me via e-mail in excellent English, and his feedback was very positive (he’d even bought several other computers).

    Second (and the real kicker), is I shipped the package via USPS Global Express Mail. There’s only one problem with this: because it is an international shipment, there is no way to recall the package, or stop shipment.

    So this is what is going to happen: the PayPal resolution center is going to see I did not ship to a confirmed address, and thus I am ineligible for their Seller Protection Policy. I will be forced to refund the money, and I have no way of recovering the computer I sold.

    Please print this, as people need to know the ONLY way to use PayPal is to ship to confirmed addresses, and to always check to see if ANYTHING you do (bank transfers, shipments, etc.) is reversible because you never know when someone will try to scam you – or when companies are willing to practically assist someone scamming you!”

  22. dbeahn says:

    Forget dealing with Paypal for e-bay – as a seller, it’s not worth it. I shipped a DVD set to Canada, the buyer did not elect a shipping option with signature delivery. Being a total moron, I shipped it as the seller requested, because USPS Priority Mail Global DOES have delivery verification, just not *signature* verification.

    The seller left me positive feedback on my e-bay profile. Paypal wouldn’t take my word for it, nor is a comment on e-bay that states “Great seller, FAST delivery, item in great shape!” enough. The buyer decided he’d rather keep his money than verify to paypal things got there OK. In fact, the buyer didn’t respond AT ALL to any e-mails Paypal sent him. Paypal still gave him my money.

    I take a little comfort in the fact that e-bay (who owns Paypal) was being paid via my Paypal account, and got stiffed on the last bill for my closed e-bay account. Apparently I didn’t put any more money into my Paypal account after Paypal stole from me so e-bay wasn’t able to get any money out of the Paypal account…

  23. ElizabethD says:

    As an eBay buyer and seller since 1997, I have one thing to say: DO NOT engage in overseas/foreign transactions of any kind.

    You will still have headaches with some of your U.S. transactions, but on the whole they won’t be as beastly or numerous as the overseas shipping and delivery screw-ups.

  24. Jesse in Japan says:

    Raymond, shit, I would just close my Paypal account down before they get a chance to help the guy in Russia steal your money. I would also tell my bank, in very absolute terms, that I will no longer be doing transactions through Paypal and that they are NOT authorized to deduct money from my account.

  25. stufuller says:

    On the other hand, I’ve only had one incident with Paypal, and it worked out just fine for me.

    I had purchased postage online, and due to one problem or another, the postage failed to print. I requested a refund from USPS, and just bought the needed postage at the post office.

    A few days later, I got an email saying that USPS declined the refund because the postage label was scanned in at a post office. I’m in the Detroit, MI, USA area, and the label was scanned in in Kalispell, MT, USA — on the other side of the country!

    I called Paypal, explained the situation, and Paypal gave me a courtesy refund.

  26. bastarre says:

    I fell prey to the Paypal machine as well. I sold a $3 DVD to a lady. On my auction I stated that insurance and delivery confirmation was highly recommended as I could not be responsible otherwise. She declined. Sure enough, out of 200+ DVDs I sent out, hers didn’t make it. She complained to Paypal and they immediately refunded her money and suspended my account even though I showed them the auction wording and a shipping receipt–since I didn’t have a tracking number, it didn’t matter.

    On the other hand, when I purchased a record listed as “absolutely mint” for $250 and it showed up really trashed, Paypal refused to help me as did the post office–I had to do a chargeback on the credit card. Screw Paypal AND eBay. Stupid feedback extortion…

  27. Fred Garvin says:

    I have to add my own 2 cents’ on the matter. I purchased a boat and trailer last year from a guy on Ebay, which was advertised in ‘good’ condition. I also had a message from the seller sent via Ebay messages confirming that his trailer was in perfect shape and could be towed anywhere. Needless to say, when I arrived to tow said boat home (100 miles from my home) I find it has a flat tire, and one wheel had rusted frozen and would not turn. As I had already paid for the item, I demanded the seller refund my payment, as his item was obviously not in the ‘as described’ state and was, in fact, immobile. He flatly refused, even going as far as to state that if I didn’t remove said boat from his marina ‘immediately’ I’d be responsible for storage fees also!

    I filed a dispute with Paypal, including his original listing and the statement he sent via Ebay messages stating it was in ‘perfect shape and could be towed anywhere’. Six days later I get an email saying they declined my claim, so this jackleg not only kept his POS boat, but got my cash too, and I got a nice negative feedback to show for my effort. Paypal SUCKS.

  28. swvaboy says:

    Boy, mention rebate, Best Buy, Comp USA, eBay or Pay pal and you get more responses than if Ben said the world was ending tomorrow..

    Now my soapbox: My Pay pal account was shut down because someone with an email address ending in was using Pay pal fraudulently, and their email address was close to mine. I jumped through all the hoops and faxed my driver’s license and a utility bill. My address was confirmed and ha an EBay feedback of 100%. None of this mattered. I am still locked out of the account. I did find out a year latter while, I cannot use Pay pal, I could withdraw any funds. I took my $11.85 and said to **** with them. I did talk with someone in the security department and their answer was everything HAD to go through the website.

    Pay pal will not even give me the “other” email to try to fix on my own.
    I use Google Checkout now. It is not allowed with eBay, but I have yet to have someone rat me out, and anyway, I prefer to use the smaller sites like WorldStartAuctions (, you email them and you actually get a response from a person! I know they are small, but remember when eBay was small, it worked.

    I feel Pay pal should be regulated as a bank due to the volume of money they handle.

    End of Soapbox.

  29. loveshinesthru says:

    i also have had problems and one just recently. i closed my paypal account before the buyer could claim anything. but i got an email from paypal stating the buyer has submitted a claim. since i am locked out of the account since i closed it, i can not get back into to dispute it. i called paypal and they said to send an email to response@ paypal dot com but i havent heard anything from them. so i dont know if they even got it. also make sure you insure your item. if the post office loses it or ups loses it you have to come up with the money to pay your buyer back. even tho you have proof you shipped it out.

  30. loveshinesthru says:

    sorry forgot to add that if they end up taking the money from my account i will be calling the bank to get my money back.

  31. bohemian says:

    Paypal has changed a few of their tactics and so had Ebay. If you have a dispute and do not have the funds in your Paypal account they will start trying to ding your bank account. You also can’t disconnect your bank account or close your Paypal account if you have an open dispute. I had Paypal lock up over $100 in my Paypal account over a dispute they later closed in my favor. In the mean time they kept trying to submit e-check withdrawals on my bank account until they got one to go through before my bank could stop it. I eventually got that money back when they decided in my favor but they created a big hassle and had my paypal account locked for a month.

    Ebay also started a new policy that you can’t start a new Ebay ID if you don’t accept Paypal or have an independent merchant account.

    I recently closed my Ebay account after this headache, at that point I had a 98%+ feedback rating. But after I closed the account Ebay decided to suspend it for low feedback even though I had no open issues.

    I later decided to get a new ID and was denied the ability to EVER get an Ebay ID ever again according to Ebay because I had a past account suspended. You know, the one I canceled out of frustration.

    In reading through the Ebay forums there seems to be an ongoing purge of users, even ones without disputes or problems and some new rather draconian rules.

    Google Base here I come!

  32. Anonymous says:

    I cannot believe it has happened to so many others. Same time frame too. I sold a dallor item to a guy that had it shipped to Daytona,FL only to find out later it was a drop box for Chilli. The USPS comfirmed to was delivered ,but the guy said it was’nt.Next thing I know is my Paypal acount is empty and they tried to get into my bank account. I closed to account before they got to it…Got to really be fast with these guys cause they are way too fast to refund without investigating anything first. They said the same thing to me.The USPS is not a legal shipper,lol..But I guess FEDEX and UPS are,,go figured that one out